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How to add the Empire State Ride route to your Garmin

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

ESR Riders, 

The Empire State Ride GPS course files were recently sent to us, so I thought I’d share my method for importing them to my Garmin Edge 1030. I’m fairly certain this method will work with all Garmin Edge models. I’m not what you’d call “super techie,” so I still use the old school USB cable transfer protocol. There are ways to do this wirelessly, but I’ve never used that method. So, here’s a quick step-by-step for USB transfer of your Empire State Ride route GPS course files.

1. Download the course files provided by ESR to your personal computer. Make sure you know where you’re downloading them to so you can access them later. 

2. Connect your Garmin to your computer using a USB cable. Wait a couple of minutes until you see the image below on your Garmin screen. If you don’t see this image after two to three minutes, disconnect the cable from your computer, shut down your Garmin and re-connect.

Click to enlarge

3. Now using the Finder, My Computer or other tool on your computer, open the drive associated with Garmin, usually labeled Garmin. Open the folder located inside the Garmin drive.

Click to enlarge

4. Click or drag the exported files from your computer and drop them into the New Files folder.

5. Safely disconnect or eject the Garmin and unplug it from the computer.

6. After powering your Garmin back on, click the Navigation icon on the main screen, then the Courses icon and finally the Saved Courses icon. There, you’ll see your ESR GPS files.

Easy enough! See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s tips for safe paceline riding

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

A paceline is a formation used by cyclists to maintain a higher average speed in a group while expending the least amount of energy. By “drafting,” or sitting in the slipstream of a rider in front of you, your effort to maintain a given speed can be reduced by 15% to 30%, depending upon the speed you’re riding, the wind and the terrain. It’s an honorable facet of cycling in that everyone is working together for the common good of the group. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. 

There is one critical skill you need to perform well in a paceline that you can practice on your solo training rides. So, before I get into the nitty gritty of pace line tips, let’s cover this basic riding skill. 

learn to ride in a straight line

This is arguably the most important skill to master. You may think that riding a straight line is primarily executed by steering the bike but it has more to do with how you pedal. When you apply force to the right pedal, the bike tends to move to the left and vice versa. The greater the force you apply to the pedal, especially at the bottom of the stroke past 5 o’clock (radial force), the more the bike will move “off-line.” 

To practice this skill on your solo rides, ride the white line on the road and focus on even pedaling between both legs. Try different gear/cadence ratios and look at the line 20 feet in front of you. Once you think you’ve got it, take it one step further: stay on the white line and maintain your speed while reaching for your bottle, take a drink and replace it. The Empire State Ride is a long ride and you’ll have to drink often, so I strongly encourage you to practice and get comfortable with taking in fluids without disrupting the paceline. 

For this blog, I am focusing on single file paceline because it’s the easiest to master and safest for the type of roads you’ll encounter on the Empire State Ride. Because a paceline is structured, it requires consistency, predictability, communication and alertness from all riders. If done properly, a single paceline is much safer than a group of riders strewn haphazardly across the road because no movements are arbitrary. So, let’s start at the front. 

Leader's Responsibility

When you are at the front leading the group in a paceline, you have a huge responsibility and need to stay aware of that the entire time. If you’re the person taking the long pulls or at the front pulling all day, it’s easy to mentally drift off and forget that everyone behind you is depending on you to guide them safely down the road. You must focus and guide your group defensively and on course. You are constantly looking for road hazards and potentially dangerous traffic situations while maintaining a speed the group can handle and all the while looking for those #ESR21 directional arrows. It’s a lot to take on. 

keeping the pace at the front steady

The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when it’s their turn to take a pull. The second biggest is when the rider signals that they are done pulling, move to the side and keep the speed the same. Both the cyclists who is coming to the front for their turn to pull and the one who just finished their pull have the biggest impact on the pace of the group. Make sure that when it’s your turn at the front, you maintain the same speed and avoid surging. Don’t be a “Sergio.” Don’t go to the front and accelerate. If you surge, gaps will open, the draft effect is minimized and the paceline turns into a slinky. If you are a strong rider, take a longer pull at the front, not a faster one. 

The rider who is pulling off will force an increase in the pace by not slowing down enough once they’ve moved over. If you move over and don’t scrub speed, the rider pulling through has to speed up to pass. When you’re done pulling, move to the appropriate side and then slow down 1-2 mph so that the pulling rider can pass you at the same speed you were pulling at. 

in the line micro adjustments

It’s nearly impossible for everyone to put forth equal amounts of effort, especially on undulating terrain. You need to make micro adjustments along the way to prevent the line bunching together or getting strung out with big gaps. Think of it like driving a car. You don’t slam on the brakes, then hit the gas; you moderate your speed with small adjustments to the gas pedal.

To do that in a paceline, try some of these techniques. 

  • Soft pedaling – When you begin to get sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to micro adjust your speed accordingly. Try not to stop pedaling and over adjust.
  • Shifting – Being in the right gear/cadence ratio will make your soft pedaling more effective. If you’re in too light of a gear, soft pedaling will not micro-adjust your speed down and too big a gear will force you to stop pedaling to reduce speed and then difficult to micro adjust your speed back up. Again, think of this as your gas pedal. It would be much more difficult to maintain a steady speed if the pedal has no resistance against your foot (gear to light) or requires a huge force to push it down (gear too big). 
  • Feathering the brakes – Gently use the brakes while continuing to pedal or soft pedal. You can also reduce your speed without braking by raising your body to create more air resistance or moving over slightly out of the draft of the person ahead of you. You want to avoid over adjusting and moving forward or backwards too fast. 
  • Field of view – Don’t focus on the wheel directly in front of you. It’s an instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go wrong. Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road. Look through holes in the leading rider—over their shoulder, under their arm or through their legs—and ride proactively instead of reactively. This will help keep the line moving smoothly. 
  • Conserve energy – If you’re starting to feel tired from pulling, sit out a few turns until you’re ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You don’t have to take a pull at all if that’s what works for you.
  • Starting from scratch – If you’re new to this, the best way to start out pace line riding is with a partner you trust who is a smooth rider. Start out following them with about 2 feet of space between your bikes or greater if you’re not comfortable being that close. Gradually close the distance to whatever your nerves can stand. Ideally you want to be six to 12 inches away. 

a word about risk

The efficiency of riding in a pace line comes at the cost of added risk. Riding in a pace line is not as safe as riding by yourself. If the rider ahead of you (or behind you or on either side for that matter) does something unexpected, you could find yourself on the pavement in an instant. Don’t ride in a paceline unless you’re willing to assume these risks. 

And finally, I leave you with this.

There are three basic rules to paceline riding: 

  1. Don’t do anything suddenly
  2. Don’t do anything suddenly!

See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s Tips: Nutrition and Hydration for ESR Training

ESR Riders:

May is here and the weather is starting to favor outdoor rides again. If you’re following the ESR Training Plan, the volume of your weekend endurance rides is starting to build to the point that we need to start to pay attention to nutrition to make sure you have the fuel for the work required.

In my coaching practice, I spend equal amount of time prescribing training and fueling strategy necessary to complete the workouts. In this era of low carbohydrate diets, getting my athletes to consume enough carbohydrates is a struggle, but when they do, the difference in the consistency of their moderate to high intensity efforts is astonishing. And this, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Carbohydrate needs may be different at different exercise intensities. When the exercise intensity is low and total carbohydrate oxidation rates are low, carbohydrate intake recommendations may have to be adjusted downwards.

With increasing exercise intensity, the active muscle mass becomes more and more dependent on carbohydrate as a source of energy. Both an increased muscle glycogenolysis and increased plasma glucose oxidation will contribute to the increased energy demands. It is therefore reasonable to expect that exogenous carbohydrate oxidation will increase with increasing exercise intensities.

Hydration is perhaps even more critical to get right for all workouts. One of my favorite quotes, “nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated environment,” sums it up well.

Here’s a great in-depth article written by CTS Coach Renee Eastman that spells it all out.

Be well and Train Right! 

Charlie Livermore l Pro Coach Carmichael Training Systems

Charlie Livermore’s training plan

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. Here’s what he has to say about training for the Empire State Ride. 

Hi everyone, Charlie here.

I’m happy to announce that the 2021 training plans are now live. The cycling fitness and experience level of Empire State Ride participants is broad. As a coach, I’ve been challenged to provide the right advice for this wide range of riders. What is good training for an advanced rider is not necessarily good for a beginner and a beginner training plan does not serve the advanced rider.  

In an attempt to better serve all of you, I divided the group into three categories and created three versions of the training plan:

  • Beginner Training Plan – This group ranges from participants who are brand new to cycling or those that will start riding in the spring and summer months to prepare for this year’s adventure.
  • Intermediate Training Plan – This  plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Intermediate riders can tackle the distance, but it will be a significant challenge.
  • Advanced Training Plan – This plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Cycling is their passion. These cyclists can easily tackle this year’s distance. Their goal is to ride the 540 miles at the highest average speed they can achieve every single day.

Before beginning any of these plans, make sure to digest all the information presented below to familiarize yourself with the language you’ll find in each plan. 

Train Right

Before jumping into whichever plan you decide on, it’s important to start with the basics. 

Whether this is your first time participating in the Empire State Ride or you are an experienced multi-day event rider, you’ll benefit from having a structured training plan. Week-long ridrs aren’t just about training more – they’re about training right. Training right will help keep you safe and healthy while tackling our cross-state adventure. 

A few things to note

1. Don’t forget to warm up and warm up the right way: warm ups can vary depending on the day, but you want to do at least 15 minutes of conversational riding before you start high intensity intervals. The warm up period may be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, but it’s more important to focus on the specificity of the intervals than getting in an exact number of minutes.  Use your warm up to get to the best place on the road to do your intervals. For this reason, workout days will be listed with a total duration that is longer than the total time of the actual intervals.  After you warm up and complete the intervals, then you complete the total duration of the ride at an endurance pace. 

2. Remember RPE: RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a very simple measure of workload to determine how hard you feel you are exercising. In a training setting, the RPE scale is from 1 to 10 –  with 1 being no exertion and 10 being a maximum effort. Each workout has an RPE associated with it to get the best adaptation. To use this scale, you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each workout. The below table lays it all out for you. 

The Training Plans

Now that you understand the importance of training, it’s time to check out the plans. Below, you will find the three training plans. 

DEscriptions of Workouts

If you’re unfamiliar with some of the language used in the training programs, here is a helpful guide:

1. Recovery Miles (RM) – Recovery Miles is exactly that – miles to help you recover. This needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from the previous days. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 4 – 5 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2 – 3 times per week. 

2. Endurance Miles (EM) – This is the intensity that much of your riding time will consist of. Many people refer to it as their forever pace, but it’s also the time around your interval sets. Theses rides should be a 5 or 6 on the RPE scale and range from 90 minutes to 6+ hours. Your speed will vary with uphills and downhills, but remember to keep your perceived exertion the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State (see below) fairly quickly.

3. Fast Pedal (FP) – This workout should be performed on a relatively flat section of road or on an indoor trainer. The gearing should be light with low pedal resistance. Begin slowly and increase your pedal speed, starting out with about 15 or 16 pedal revolutions per 10-second count. This equates to a cadence of 90 to 96 RPM. While staying in the saddle, increase your pedal speed, keeping your hips smooth with no rocking. Concentrate on pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke and over the top. After one minute of Fast Pedal, you should be maintaining 18 to 20 pedal revolutions per 10-second count, or a cadence of 108 to 120 RPM for the entire time of the workout. Your heart rate will climb while doing this workout, but don’t use it to judge your training intensity. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the Fast Pedal workout with as few interruptions as possible because it should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed training intensity.

4. Tempo (T) – Tempo workouts are that pace between your Endurance Miles and lactate threshold. These workouts help develop a stronger aerobic engine by maintaining an effort outside of your comfort zone. They should be a 7 on the RPE scale and range from 15 – 45 minutes for each interval. Be very careful that you don’t let your intensity level get into your lactate threshold. It’s very easy to let it creep up, but faster doesn’t always mean better. You need to be able to sustain that pace for longer periods of time to get the best adaptation. 

5. SteadyState (SS) – Steady State is probably the most well-known term in these workouts. They’re a very important part of training and are very strenuous. They should be done at or slightly below your lactate threshold at an RPE of 8 – 9. These intervals are shorter than Tempo because of the intensity involved. Each interval ranges from 8 to 20 minutes and has a 2-to-1 recovery ratio. A typical workout may look like 3×10 minute with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.   

6. Power Intervals (PI) – Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise). They last 1 to 3 minutes at an RPE of 10. Warming up before these is even more important, so make sure to get in 15 – 30 minutes of conversational riding before you start the intervals. The recovery period is 1 to 1, so 1 minute intervals have 1 minute of active recovery.  


Now that you have a training plan and a basic understanding of the fundamentals, it’s time to get started! If you’re interested in learning more about a personalized plan, you can reach out to me at